Young People in Foster Care

MDRC evaluates programs that provide counseling and support to young people who are "aging out" of foster care to help them make the transition to independent adulthood.

The Latest
Report

This report summarizes an evaluation of a program that helps young people with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody become independent adults. The program improved earnings, housing stability and economic well-being, and some health and safety outcomes. It did not improve education, social support, or criminal involvement outcomes.

Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) is an initiative to help young people who have been involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, or who are homeless. This brief provides details on the models in LEAP and the young people participating, and offers some early implementation findings.

Key Documents
Report

Built on a research review and consultation with youth policy experts, this paper makes the case for developing a menu of approaches for the heterogeneous population of disconnected youth, building knowledge about mature programs (to better understand whether they work, for whom, and why), and creating new programs that address areas of unmet need. This framework may be particularly relevant for the Administration’s newly proposed Youth Innovation Fund.

Brief

A Preview of the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation

This brief covers one of the largest and most rigorous evaluations of services for youth who are aging out of the foster care and juvenile justice systems. It explains the scope of the problem, summarizes the policy context, describes the program and study sample, and offers preliminary observations from the evaluation.

Report

Two-Year Impact Findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation

This study tested a program that offers individualized services to young people who are making the transition from foster care or juvenile justice custody to independent living. The program had modest, positive effects on earnings, housing stability, and economic well-being and improved some health and safety outcomes.